Happy New Year!
Starting out 2014 with our first Writer’s Spotlight Wednesday (WSW) of the year is
Phyllis I. Turner
“My favorite part of my career…is finally doing something I feel I’ve been designed to do.”
Phyllis may just be getting started, but don’t be fooled. She’s accomplished much in the six months that she’s been a full-time freelance writer, and has taken on the career with admirable determination and gusto. I was delighted to learn more about Phyllis and her craft as she answered some of my questions below.
Q. What do you write? (What’s your niche/specialty?)
A. I write non-fiction for the most part and have narrowed my focus to writing about travel, writing a column for other writers, writing for magazines and promoting other writers’ books and blog posts. I just recently, in the last 6 months have been able to focus on my freelance writing business full-time, and I still have a lot to learn so I’m doing a lot of research, reading and taking workshops and other courses to improve my writing.
Q. Why do you write?
A. I have been writing creatively for as long as I can remember. I got my first journal when I was in elementary school and kept journaling well into my adult years. Writing, to me, is a creative outlet. Like a painter paints or a musician plays his instrument. I write to express myself in a creative way and also to inform and teach. I’ve always been a bit shy and even a bit self-conscious, and writing is my way of using my creative energy without putting myself in the spotlight like a singer, dancer or musician would. I can quietly go about my work and nobody notices.
But we’re noticing, Phyllis! When you put your heart into your work, people can’t help but notice, and you have definitely done that by going wholeheartedly after your dreams.
Q. How did you prepare yourself for a freelance career?
A. I’m not the corporate-America type and never felt like I fit in, in that setting. I would sit in my cubicle, week after week, miserable and wishing for more freedom. I guess I can say I prepared myself for this by never ceasing to write. Journaling, desktop publishing, writing family newsletters every year and marketing for a side business we had when we had our farm in Missouri helped prepare me. I was always creating ads, writing press releases, publishing newsletters and websites, etc. I also started blogging back in October of 2007. I’ve started several other blogs since then and continue to enjoy blogging. I took a creative writing class at our community college and also a public speaking class, so I guess with all of that, I was priming myself for my current career as a freelance writer.
Q. What are your current or upcoming projects?
A. I just finished a Writing for Magazines workshop just before Christmas & have been researching the magazine markets that I want to write for and sending queries. The week between Christmas and the New Year, I spent planning my goals for 2014 so I could start off the new year with a bang! I’ve set my goals now and am putting my action plans in place so that I can confidently schedule my days for writing that will help me meet my goals. It’s been a fun process so far and it’s really gotten me excited for the new year. I also took part in Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) for the first time in November of 2013, so I’ve got tons of ideas for children’s picture books that I plan to write. I’ll always be blogging and looking for opportunities to write more.
Q. What’s the most exciting (or your favorite) thing about your freelance career?
A. My favorite part of my career as a freelance writer is finally doing something I feel I’ve been designed to do. My entire life, people have told me I should pursue a career in writing but I didn’t know the first place to start so, when I found myself in a circumstance where I could, I took a writing class and the rest is history. I continue to learn more and more and just keep moving forward every day. I love waking up in the middle of the night with an idea and I can get up and start writing at 3am knowing, if I need it, I can take a nap later. I couldn’t do that when I worked in corporate America. I also love that I can work with my cat in my lap and in my pajamas if I want to and I can write wherever I am. At the beach, in a hotel in a new city, the local coffee shop, or wherever! Not from a cubicle. I love the act of creating something on what was once a white page that people are interested in reading! The most exciting thing for me today is…the very real possibility of having a book published in this new year. My goals are set, my plans are laid, and it’s exciting for me to start making those steps to see that book published for the first time. Magazine articles in print are awesome to see too but I think holding a book in my hands with my name on the front will send me over the edge of absolute euphoria.
Phyllis I. Turner is a freelance writer with the heart of a gypsy, a wife, mother of one, Vero Beach Florida beach bum, lover of food, animals, sunsets & all things outdoors. She lives in Vero Beach, FL with her husband Jon. Visit her website at: www.phyllisiturner.com and her blog at www.jonandphyllis.com
Phyllis, thank you for sharing! I wish you success as you continue your journey and I can’t wait to see what wonderful things you will continue to share with the world!